Building a toxic tort case can be tough. Toxic torts may stem from various forms. Proving that an entity exposed you to a toxic chemical is not enough. You have to prove that they shouldn’t have exposed you to that chemical, and that you were injured by the exposure.
Though proving your case can be challenging, if someone injures you it is important to overcome these challenges to ensure that they are held responsible for their behavior.
Proving A Toxic Tort Claim
- Exposure: The first step is to prove that you were exposed to a hazardous substance. In some situations, proving exposure is easy. If you took a drug that turns out to be dangerous, you just have to prove that you took the drug. You can do this by showing prescription records, or medical records. In some cases, it can be more difficult. If a company denies that they contaminated the water, you may first have to prove that there were hazards in the water, and then have to prove that you were exposed to those hazards.
- Causation: Proving causation can be more difficult. In order to recover money from someone, you need to prove that they caused you damages or harmed you in some way. In some cases, proving causation is easy. For example, mesothelioma is a special kind of cancer that is only caused by asbestos, so if you develop mesothelioma, it’s easy to prove that the asbestos caused it. However, in other cases, it can be very difficult to prove causation. Sometimes exposure to a chemical or hazard occurs years before the illness develops. For illnesses with many potential unknown causes, such as cancer, it can be difficult to prove that exposure to a hazard years before caused the cancer to develop. If many people who took a certain drug or were exposed to a certain chemical begin to develop cancer, this may make proving causation easier.
- Liability: If you were exposed to a hazard that caused damage, you still need to prove that the entity that exposed you should be held accountable. This means that you have to prove that they were wrong in exposing you to the chemical.
Potential Compensation in Toxic Tort Cases
Once you have proven your case and won, you are entitled to recover for your damages. Since the company can’t go back and make you not get sick, they usually have to pay you money for the damages their actions caused.
The type of recovery you are entitled to will usually vary depending on:
- Whether the case settles or is decided by a jury. Often, companies will decide they don’t want to go to court or let a jury decide how much money you will get. Instead, they will offer you a ‘settlement’ or a set amount of money to drop your claim.
- How severe your illness is. Obviously, a company will have to pay you more if their dangerous disposal of hazardous waste caused you to develop cancer than if it caused you to develop a cold.
- The type of case you brought. If you brought a case yourself, you get all of the money (minus attorneys fees) that the judge or jury decides you get, or that the company offers to settle. If you were part of a class action, you get a portion of the settlement based on the terms of the settlement.
Getting Legal Help
An experienced toxic tort attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine if you can prove a toxic tort. An attorney can also help you determine the potential compensation you might be entitled to. You should consult with a lawyer before making any decisions regarding your toxic tort litigation.